The Indiana Jones franchise is still incredibly popular among film fans, despite the fact that, of the four movies that make up the series, only half of them are universally agreed upon to be great. One of the reasons that so many love the third film in the series was the introduction of Sean Connery as the father of Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones. The actors had remarkably great chemistry, that unfortunately, we never saw again, but we almost did.
Upon the passing of Sean Connery it's natural to look back at the actor's historic career. He created James Bond and beyond that he played a number of great characters and even won an Oscar. But in addition to looking back at what he did, it's easy to think about the things that could have been and one of the things that could have happened was Sean Connery returning to play Henry Jones Sr. In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
In the lead up to the fourth Indiana Jones film, many wondered if we might see Sean Connery again. The actor hadn't made a film since 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and he seemed largely to be done with Hollywood, but it was clear that the new film was hoping he'd return. When Connery finally made a decision, he released a public statement saying that he would not reprise his role, even though he admitted that if anything was going to get him in front of a camera again, it would have been Indiana Jones. According to Connery...
If anything could have pulled me out of retirement, it would have been an Indiana Jones film. But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun… I love working with Steven and George [Lucas], and it goes without saying that it is an honour to have Harrison as my son.
It's almost frustrating that Sean Connery was enjoying his retirement so much. Certainly, the man earned it, but if he had liked it even a little less we could have seen him come back for Indiana Jones 4, and that would have been simply excellent. Connery told the BBC back in 2007 that he loved working with the Indiana Jones team the first time around and he almost certainly would have enjoyed himself the second time around.
And it leads one to wonder what Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would have looked like with Sean Connery included. Of course, it's unlikely the move would have ended up drastically different from a plot perspective, but adding Henry Jones Sr. could have certainly changed character interactions a great deal, assuming he would have been part of the main cast and not simply a cameo. Although, from things Sean Connery said before his death, that wasn't really the case, which was also part of the reason the actor decided to not come out of retirement. It might not have made the last Indy movie great, but it almost certainly would have made it better.
Instead, Henry Jones Sr. is simply given a passing reference early in the film to let the audience know he died off-screen since the previous film. If the man was happily retired, no reason to tease the audience that he might come back one day.